A massive controversy broke over Indian warship INS Viraat after Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday in his poll rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan said that the Nehru-Gandhi family misused and insulted the INS Viraat when former PM Rajiv Gandhi used it as a 'personal taxi' for himself and his in-laws for their vacation at an island in the Lakshadweep archipelago. Following the development, Lakshadweep Congress has entered the fray to reiterate Congress' claim that late PM Rajiv Gandhi was there for the official programme.
In a tweet on Thursday, the official handle of Lakshadweep Congress posted a picture that showed Rajiv Gandhi talking to few people in Lakshadweep. They claimed that the picture was from 1987 'official trip'.
On Thursday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi did not respond directly on INS Viraat charge by the PM but has said:
"You want to talk about Rajiv Gandhi, you want to talk about me, you can talk all you want. But make the citizens understand what you did in the Rafale matter. You tell the citizens what happened about the promise of employment that you made to the two crore people."
The Prime Minister had made the sensational charge in Delhi saying that Congress had misused the naval ship.
"Congress' naamdaar family had misused the pride of the country, INS Viraat, like its personal taxi. They had insulted it. This incident is of that time when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country and they had gone out on vacation for 10 days. During that time, INS Viraat was stationed to guard the maritime boundaries, but it was sent to bring the Gandhi family who was going on vacation. After that, INS Viraat had stopped at a special island with their entire family. It was there for 10 days. Among those who were holidaying with Rajiv Gandhi were his in-laws," PM Modi had said.
On the other hand, naval officer Commander VK Jaitly, who was posted on INS Viraat at that time, spoke to Republic TV and disputed the Congress's claim about then PM Rajiv Gandhi's '1987 Lakshadweep trip' being an 'official trip'. He said that 'it is very easy for a person at a higher authority to convert a family tour into an official trip.'